Nicholls ponders Cheltenham for Malaya
Malaya could feature at Cheltenham this coming week after winning the Imperial Cup Handicap Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.
Paul Nicholls' five-year-old mare managed to keep in touch with long-time leader Speredek, before an error two from home seemed to hand the initiative to main rival Monsieur Lecoq.
However, Harry Cobden helped Malaya recover to challenge new leader Monsieur Lecoq going into the last and she managed to power through to claim a four-length win with the favourite Call Me Lord settling for third.
Nicholls said: "She ran well at Ascot the other day - two-miles-three was probably too far for her. She'd had two falls and we were keen to get a clear round and get her confidence up.
"She's improved since then and today was the day, she had a big chance.
"What happened at the second-last showed how tough she is. She is a good mare on her day and actually ran well in a Grade One at Auteuil in November when she fell and could have been fourth.
"Off 10st 2lb today, I thought she had dropped to a nice mark."
A victory at Cheltenham would hand Malaya a £50,000 bonus from the Imperial Cup sponsors and Nicholls said it is "a definite possibility" that she could go despite racing on Saturday.
Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.